Over the years I have become obsessed with the journey of bodybuilding. I find it as one of the most challenging endeavors I have ever taken on. Bodybuilding requires discipline 24 hours a day for years on end to become successful. Another challenging factor is that we are all different individuals. What works for others may not work for you or I. To find our most efficient path to success we must continually reflect on our training and nutrition and learn the best approach going forward. Being that we are already through the first quarter of the year, I wanted to share a few items that I have realized that are important to increasing my success rate.
1. Incline Barbell Press
It is very rare to find a bodybuilder that has over developed upper pectoral development. I would go as far as to say it’s usually a weakness for most, myself being included. The incline barbell press has been a staple in my training program for year. I always felt it was a must, and I still do. During the years it has always been a fairly strong movement for me, but I never really felt a great contraction in the pecs. Having the luxury of working with one of the best coaches in the industry, John Meadows, he had gave me some advice on this movement; A) Don’t use a steep incline B) Use a mid range of motion of the movement. I took his advice, and it did help, and has alleviated some previous shoulder issues I was having, It still did not feel completely comfortable, and I did not feel this movement entirely in the chest.
At one point I got so frustrated with the way the movement felt, I was ready to ditch the exercise all together. I have always had a much greater muscle contraction with regular bench press versus incline. I decided on my next session to take my coaches advice to the next level. Instead of using a normal incline bench, I setup a bench in the power rack with only a 45 pound under the back of the bench. This creates a very slight incline. For me this is where the magic happens. This slight incline allows me to get a great contraction throughout my entire pec as well as alleviates any stress I was feeling on my shoulders. I have now been doing this for the last month with great success.
2. Light Weight Arm Training
Light weight, this a relative term so let me explain further. I would have titled this a weight you can control arm training, but it doesn’t have the same ring. I have never had good arms. They may not be impressive even at this point, but I did find something that has worked extremely well. Over the last three months I have used a lighter weight than I ever have when performing arm movements. This decrease in weight has not turned into higher reps, in fact my reps are the same as when I was using significantly more weight. The major difference is to fatigue the muscle with an extremely controlled movement, and emphasized contractions. Controlling the movement, specifically accenting a slow eccentric motion and holding the contraction for an extra squeeze will increase the total time under tension. This has worked extremely well for me with increased hypertrophy as well as I feel it will provide longevity on the joints.
3. The Need For Longevity
Now more than ever I have realized that this sport requires a lot of patience to achieve your goals. Regardless of the effort you put in, progress takes time. The biggest mistake you can make is to push things to rapidly be it with training or nutrition.
On the nutrition side it is imperative that you are consistently tracking progress and modifying your program based on your desired. You need to make small changes, just enough to progress moving forward.
Your training program needs to pushed right to the edge without stepping over. You want to do everything in your power to maximize the intensity and frequency of your workouts while still allowing for full recovery. If you push a little too far you will soon be forced to back off due to injury or stalled progress.
The overall goal is to continually push both the nutrition and the training just far enough to keep the progress moving forward without be a detriment to your future in the sport.
Although these ideologies may not seem like anything too impressive, when applied to myself they have made a tremendous difference. It’s my goal that each time I train, aside from the overall enjoyment, that I have something I can take away to improve my next training session. If you continually approach your program with the same thought process, you will develop a program that works best for you and will be one step closer to having the best physique you can.
About the Author
Marc Snyder is an active NPC Bodybuilder and current 2013 Mr Ohio. Marc has created a balance in his life with the sport he loves and the family of 2 kids and a wife that he lives for. Marc has been involved in many avenues of the fitness industry. He is a certified personal trainer and strength and conditioning coach. He also has experience in clinical exercise physiology working in the field for nearly 2 years.
It is now Marc’s goal to educate and guide individuals through yèt-their health and fitness journey by utilizing the knowledge he has gained over the years. He operates SnyderAthletics.com an online nutrition and training website to help people. achieve their goals.
Please follow Marc on his journey of continued progress by following him on his website at SnyderAthletics.com , facebook at www.facebook.com/NPCMarcSnyder and twitter at www.twitter.com/SnyderMarcA. He post his daily lifestyle tips on these feeds for you to access and utilize in your health and fitness journey.